There are a few aspects of dental implant treatment that might seem daunting. Maybe you’ve heard that surgery is involved, that it’s a long process, or that it’s expensive. But if you’re suffering from missing teeth or the discomfort of loose dentures, you could be missing out on a life-changing solution that restores the look, feel and function of your natural smile.

For this blog, we sat down with the implant team at 543 to find out the truth about dental implants and why the treatment is nothing to be scared of at all!

Meet the dental implants team

Vali Osoianu

Vali Osoianu, Dentist

Vali qualified as a dentist in 2005 in Romania and has been involved in implant placement and restorative procedures since 2008. He’s attended numerous implant-related courses in the UK and overseas, including the Diploma Course in Restorative Dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons, London. He is an active member of the ADI (Association of Dental Implantology), keeping his knowledge up to date to provide the latest evidence-based care to all his patients. Outside of 543, Vali is a passionate golfer.

Pilar - Dentist

Pilar Fukushima, Dentist

Pilar was born and raised in Argentina and studied dentistry in Spain and Germany. After graduating in Spain in 2015, she worked there for a few years doing mainly implants. Since moving to the UK, she has renewed all of her credentials to continue doing dental implants here at 543 as it is one of her favourite things to do within dentistry. When she’s not busy being a dentist, she’s taking care of her two toddlers, doing activities like kite surfing in Cleethorpes – weather permitting!

Sara - Treatment Coordinator

Sara Feldt, Treatment Coordinator

Sara is Treatment Coordinator at 543. She looks after all our private patients, making sure they are comfortable and that any questions they have about their treatment are answered. Dental implant treatment can sometimes be quite daunting, and patients might feel overwhelmed and unsure whether they want to progress – that’s where Sara comes in to have a chat to talk it all through. It’s often easier to discuss your options with someone who isn’t a dentist, and Sara is always at the other end of the phone to address worries and concerns. Outside of the practice, Sara enjoys hill walking, swimming and spending time with friends.

So, what are dental implants?

Dental implants provide a long-term replacement for missing teeth, and dentist Vali explains that “a dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth”.

The process involves implanting a small titanium screw into the jawbone, which then fuses to the bone over a period of 3 to 4 months. This creates a secure foundation to screw prosthetic teeth into place. Whether you require a single tooth replacement, multiple teeth, a full arch or an implant designed to retain dentures – dental implants will look, act and feel just like your natural teeth.

How does the treatment work?

Dental implants usually require four appointments and the first is your assessment. During the assessment, we check gum health and bone density to find out whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. We also take a scan so that we can see everything in three dimensions. Dentist Vali says, “the assessment is the most important thing. The more thorough the assessment, the more confident we can be about the success of the procedure”.

Then, after lots of planning and preparation behind the scenes, we are ready for your second appointment to place the implant. We like to refer to this procedure as a “mini surgery”. Dentist Pilar explains that “we call it a mini surgery because it is a very simple surgery, even easier than having a tooth taken out, and there is not much bleeding involved. Our patients say that they don’t feel anything at all and the surgery itself is quite quick”.

We then wait six months for everything to heal and for the bone to grow around the titanium screw. At the third appointment we take digital scans of your mouth in order to design and make your replacement teeth. The fourth appointment is when we screw your new teeth into place on the implant.

At 543, our patients benefit from the latest technology. Our Computer Guided Surgery systems ensure a precise foundation for the implant. Our 3D scanner allows us to show patients a visual representation of how their smile will be transformed with the implant. We also have an intraoral scanner, which makes the process of taking impressions more accurate and more comfortable for the patient.

Does it hurt?

Our dentists Pilar and Vali state confidently that the procedure will not hurt at all! The procedure is performed using local anaesthetic, and while this is administered with an injection – a topical anaesthetic gel is used for added comfort.

Pilar explains, “the implant placement surgery is easily done with local anaesthetic, so patients are numb and don’t feel anything”. And Vali adds, “the only thing you might feel is a little bit of discomfort and pressure from the drill”.

And what about during the healing process? “Once the anaesthetic wears off, you might experience a little bit of tenderness, inflammation and swelling, but this is normally easily addressed with painkillers”.

Why do they recommend dental implants to their patients?

For patients with missing teeth, dental implants offer a plethora of benefits that are not possible with other, more short-term solutions.

Dr Pilar explains, “I recommend dental implants to my patients firstly because I don’t recommend leaving a gap there on its own, as this will cause the other teeth to move in the future. This then starts a cascade of other problems for the teeth, gums and bone. An implant is the gold standard for replacing a missing tooth because it is the closest thing to a natural tooth, and it will help maintain your bone structure and support facial tissues as you age”.

Unlike dentures, “you don’t need to remove an implant every night, there is no risk that it is going to fall out as you talk, it won’t affect how you talk, it’s much more comfortable, and you will be able to eat and drink whatever you like – even foods like steak and corn on the cob!”

Are dental implants expensive?

Treatment Coordinator, Sara explains:

“I do understand that people might think that dental implants are expensive. And yes, it is a big investment, but you’re investing in your mouth and your oral health. Having a missing tooth can have a knock-on effect on the rest of your mouth, possibly leading to other expensive treatments in the future.

If you can have an implant, it is the best way forward. It can be a daunting investment for some people. However, as long as you keep the implant healthy, it should last you a long time. We don’t expect our patients to pay everything up front and we do have financing options in place”.

Are implants suitable for me?

Modern technology means that almost everyone is able to have implants. However, the state of your general health, whether you are immunocompromised, and low bone density might all mean that you aren’t a suitable candidate for this treatment. A thorough assessment will allow our dentists to reach a conclusion and advise you on the best next steps for you.

 

If you have a missing tooth and are interested in learning more about dental implants at 543, our Treatment Coordinator, Sara, is available to answer your questions at 07772 640585. Or you can call the practice on 01482 565488 to book an appointment and talk through your options.